This weekend I was in Denver as an invited speaker at the University of Colorado’s Denver campus. Some of the UCD Math faculty attended a talk I gave at the regional MAA meetings in April and invited me to give an hour-long version of that talk there. I of course readily accepted the invitation, partly because “speaking invitations” look good on my tenure application, but mostly because the UCD Math folks paid me an honorarium to do it. Here are some stories tapped from the Rockies.
I love visiting the Mile-High City, and being there always makes me feel better about the world. Maybe it’s because of the crisp mountain air, or the scenic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains to the west. Maybe it’s because of the bustling energy of it’s cosmopolitan downtown. Maybe it’s the way Denver just seems to glow at night.
Then again, maybe it’s because Denver its one of the few places I’ve been where I can read actual paper copies of The Onion. For free.
God bless America.
I spent most of Friday on the UCD campus, shooting the breeze with faculty and students, and dining at a Cuban jazz bar just off of the 16th Street Mall. I’m not sure what makes Cuban food Cuban food, but based on observing the dishes served to me and my hosts, I would posit that (a) Cuban food involves serving everything over a bed of spicy pork and (b) Cuban alcohol consists of hydrochloric acid flavored with a hint of apple.
On Saturday, I relaxed by spending the morning hiking in the Rockies near the Guanella Pass. Although it was bright and warm, snow was still on the ground, and I followed a small creek partially encrusted with ice up the side of mountain for a while.
As I walked, I came cross a place where the road diverged in a yellow wood: one leading up to the sun-drenched side of the mountain; the other leading down into snow and shadow…
… and I recalled just how much poetry and art there is to be found in nature.
As I walked further, I came across a break in the ice over the creek, revealing a crystalline prism obver which light shimmered and danced, reflected by the swift-moving creek beneath…
… and I recalled just how much mathematics there is to be found in nature.
And as I walked even further, I came across the skeletal remains of a deer, its sun-bleached ribs and vertebrae a stark contrast to the living, breathing canopy of the forest around it…
… and I recalled just many big things with sharp teeth and hungry stomachs there are in nature.
And then I got the hell out of the woods.